Reasons Not to Elope – Seeing through the misconceptions

A couple shares their first dance overlooking Sedona by large trees with the sun setting behind them.

The Five Most Common Objections To Eloping

(updated for 2023)

We often blog about reasons to elope, how to involve your family and what to expect from the experience of eloping to put out the positive vibes of choosing to elope. Today we are tearing down the false impressions of eloping and hatred found online about elopements. As elopement photographers, we witness first hand our couple’s wedding day up close and personal. We are there through it all with them and we get to capture some of the most special moments between two people and within their relationship. We have also photographed many weddings in our past and we find couples that elope have no different or less of a bond than those couples that choose to share a traditional wedding. As two people in the wedding/elopement industry, but also as people who care about humans and connection, it makes us upset that there are so many people online putting down the choice of eloping. Sometimes your battle may even be with your friends and family when trying to decide to elope or not. Let’s break down some of the most common things we hear about elopements when people are trying to convince you not to do it and why these are not valid reasons against eloping!

Does choosing to elope mean your family does not approve of your partner?

Choosing to elope has nothing to do with your family, in many cases. Often times we hear, oh you are eloping because your family doesn’t approve of your marriage. The choice to elope comes from what type of wedding day you want to have and what type of experience you want to start your marriage off. You may or may not want family at your elopement, but even this choice does not have to stem from if they approve of your marriage or not. There is a standard floating the web that weddings are about family coming together, but truthfully weddings are about two people joining each other for the rest of their lives in marriage, I repeat two people.

Some elopements have guests and that is wonderful. Some elopements are just the couple and those are equally as beautiful. Some of our couples still celebrate their elopement with their family by reading letters on the day of that they wrote them, face timing them or holding a small gathering with their families on a later date. Either way it is important to remember there is no obligation in celebrating marriage with your family, simply do what is right for you.

Do traditional weddings cost too much, forcing couples to elope?

Yes, weddings are crazy expensive. The average wedding cost in the United States right now is currently around $30,000 according to many online sources. Yes, eloping can be cheaper, but this is not always the case. Choosing to elope gives you the freedom to get married however you wish. Some couples may choose to fly to a different country then take a helicopter to the highest mountain and share their vows in designer attire with the best of the best photographer. Cheaper? No. I am not saying money is never a reason, but again it is not a reason to choose to elope. The average cost of a destination wedding or in our world, an adventure elopement, is around $28,000. Budget is something you decide no matter what. You can get married sticking to a more traditional wedding for as budget friendly as you want based on choices like venue space, vendors, accessories, and attire. Eloping should not come second choice to a wedding being too expensive.

Money shouldn’t be anyone else’s business but your own when it comes to deciding how you get married. Nor should someone care how much money you are spending on your wedding day and it should never be a way that someone tries to convince you to get married the way that they think is best.

Do weddings need to have Biblical Significance?

Oh man, so I came across a blog called Start Marriage Off Right which started this whole heated thing for me. Yes, marriage has biblical significance to those getting married that are religious, I am not denying that. I understand that the wedding is a part of a marriage. This statement has nothing to do with choosing to elope though and it is being used as a point to turn couples away from eloping. An elopement is a wedding. I have photographed an elopement where the preacher from the couples childhood hiked with us up a mountain and married them in front of their closest friends and family reading scripture throughout the ceremony + saying prayers. I have also photographed an elopement where the sister became an ordained minister and conducted a traditional Jewish ceremony in front of their parents. Eloping does not steal the option away from couples to have a religious wedding day. Your elopement can be as religious as you want it to be or not at all. You don’t have to get married in a religious building to justify your marriage, I always say the most beautiful church is found within nature. This being said, even if you choose not to have religious elements or formal vow sharing during your elopement day, this does not make you wedding or marriage any less in a biblical stand point. You are in nature, the purest places on earth vowing to be together forever. The day is what you make it and means what you want it to.

Does eloping need to be just me and my partner?

Often at elopements it is just the two of you. Your witnesses may be your photographer, you may not know your officiant on a personal level or you may have completed the paperwork in a courthouse and then chosen to elope as a celebration. This does not mean that your love or marriage is not witnessed and valued by your friends and family. The elopement day is special, just like a wedding day and if you want it to be a private moment between you and your partner that is fine! This does not mean that you can not celebrate and share with friends and family before or after. Eloping also does not always mean that you are alone on your wedding day. You can have friends and family there to witness the moment and the beautiful thing is that it is totally up to you!

Your love will be forever present in your marriage. Most of your marriage will happen behind closed doors in private, so there is no shame in spending the day you start your marriage connected to each other without any distractions, like throwing a big party for a ton of people. You can share your love with others on this day if you wish by sharing the story of your day, sharing photos and video or simply spending time with the people you two love.

Is Choosing to Elope Selfish?

WHEW I am boiling over here you guys. No, couples who decide to elope are not selfish! On the reverse side, how selfish is it to expect to be at a couples wedding day, on of the most intimate and special days in their lives together? So many times when I used to work with couples for traditional weddings, so much of the day was about other people, decor and other choices made on the wedding day that were made out of guilt put on the couple by friends and family. Choosing to elope is not selfish. I just can not say it enough. I know guests are excited for the couple and want to be a part of their moment with them, but think about it this way. It’s the couples marriage. Would a guest at your wedding want to be a part of your most intimate discussions and decisions? Likely not. If you take the wedding aspect out of it and just think about the marriage, friends and family may see a different side of it. If they care deeply enough about the couple, they should be open to having dinner, a future reception, or something else special with the couple after their elopement. It is more selfish to tell people what they should and should not do and put their own expectations on peoples love life.

None of the above statements are reasons not to elope!

Choosing to elope is a big a choice to make. Eloping is not your traditional wedding day and while we believe deeply in the elopement experience, we completely understand that it is not for everyone. The above reasons are typically said to people wanting to elope because of a certain family member or friend wanting to attend your wedding for their own personal reasons or because that person doesn’t understand the modern day elopement. If you are thinking about eloping but are getting some back lash from friends or family, you can always share with them photos of other elopements that display epic-ness, happiness, adventure, fun, connection, love and all of the beautiful reasons that you yourself have been drawn to holding your ceremony in this way. You can also share blog posts with them that talk about what an elopement is, why people elope and past elopement stories. This can help bring clarity and understanding to them. Being totally transparent about why you yourself want to elope can also be beneficial. Having captured hundreds of love stories, we can confidently say that you should not make your own wedding day choices based on the opinions of others.

Reasons Not To Elope

With the five most common arguments presented by family and friends dispelled above, there are legitimate reasons why a couple may choose to have a traditional wedding instead of an elopement. To us, the connection between a couple and them fulfilling their dream wedding day is the absolute most important decision when it comes to deciding how they’d like to get married. Are we partial to the big outdoor adventures with solitude in pristine wilderness, snow capped mountain peaks, fields exploding with wild flowers, backpacking weddings, rock climbing weddings, and sunshine the whole day through? Yes, of course we are! That’s why we have dedicated our lives to helping couples bring their dream elopement to life and capturing the memories. But within the same sentiment for why we are so passionate for what we do, that means we also encourage couples who want to have an elopement styled wedding do so for the right reasons.

I’ve always dreamed of the big traditional wedding

If you have always dreamed of the big fancy wedding with the dances, the coordinated color schemes and you enjoy being the center of attention then do not force yourself to have a wedding day different than your dreams.

Elopement images look so cool

If the big sweeping vista shots you see with the glowing sunset are what appeal to you about eloping but absolutely nothing else, have a traditional wedding and you can always do a honeymoon session or anniversary session later down the road. Eloping is not about the photos, it is about the experience.

Eloping is quick and easy

If you want a wedding that is quick and easy, elopements are certainly quicker and easier to plan with less stress but that shouldn’t be the main reason that draws you to sharing your ceremony in this way. Also, every elopement photographer is different. For us we focus on adventurous weddings, so that is certainly not always easy. Some of our couples really push their boundaries and we love being along side them experiencing it all. This all circles back to we believe in the couple fulfilling their wedding day vision. There are many reasons why a couple might want a quick and easy wedding day, so for that we recommend the courthouse, a county park, or a very beautiful and accessible area that will satisfy those needs.

Elopements are trendy

A decision that is as important as swearing your love and life to another person should not be made on the whim of something seeming like a cool thing to do. Your wedding day will be a memory that will last forever. It is important to make sure eloping aligns with your values and will be an accurate reflection of your love story.

I could never get married without all of my friends and loved ones

This one is important to be honest about. To some people, spending tens of thousands of dollars to host a celebration to ensure every person of importance both small and big can be present on the wedding day is a non-negotiable. This is very area specific and we capture love stories all across the United States, but as a common thread, any more than 15 people can be very difficult to fit on public lands. Once you start breaking into the 30 person guest count and beyond, then it becomes almost necessary to book a private space or venue. Aside form amphitheaters, which typically don’t photograph well and they are rarely in ideal locations within a park, there are limited and rare spaces on public lands which can hold large gatherings.

I don’t want my dress to get dirty

Yes, you could carry around a blanket and hoist your dress up high while you walk around between locations, making sure the dress sits just perfect for every photograph, but then it starts to feel more like a photo shoot than a wedding. When we capture elopements, we pride ourselves on delivering an experience and worrying the entire time about some dirt on the dress will surely detract from that. We aren’t saying that you need to go down natural rock waterslides and jump into a creek in the tropics while wearing your dress like this couple did during their Puerto Rico Elopement (which we’re all about), but you should expect the dress to gain a bit of dirt on the ends while you’re exploring in nature. If keeping the dress in pristine condition is important to you, then you might want to consider not eloping.

A couple plays a game of chess on top of a red rock overlook.

Bring along an elopement team that will stand behind you and your dream wedding!

We believe that eloping is the most connective, intimate and adventurous way to start off your marriage. Sometimes it is hard to find the words to truly express what we see in front of our camera on elopement days with couples. There is a sense of peace, love, connection and wholeness shared between the couples. Eloping is the most unique way to say I do because you can design a day that is perfect for just the two of you. There is an elopement ceremony as the stable and glowing center piece, but the entire rest of the day is curated to match your exact vision. This could be a day with just you two hiking to the mountain top before sunrise to share your vows at the start of a new day or it could be the two of you and a few close friends and family sailing across the sea. Eloping can be anything you want it to be. Choose to elope for your right reasons and don’t let others opinions influence your dreams. If you are considering eloping, but not sure or have questions reach out to the photographer you are considering and ask away! Always feel free to drop a question in the comments of the blog post too, We always answer them!

Modern day Elopements are not the same as they used to be and should stop carrying the stigma.

It is our passion helping couples begin their married life together with a day that perfectly fits them and their relationship by providing a safe, non-judgmental space for couples to celebrate their day. From connection to capture, we’ll be with you every step of the way.